Honda to offer Vezel crossover in Europe and the US

Article by Anita Panait, on December 23, 2013

Honda will introduce a European version of its new Vezel in 2015, hereby joining the lively subcompact SUV/crossover segment in the region. Honda has commenced selling the Jazz/Fit-based Vezel in Japan at a starting price of JPY1.87 million ($18,147). The Japanese carmaker will start selling the vehicle in the United States in 2014.

Honda is offering the Vezel in Japan with a hybrid version that combines a 1.5-liter direct-injection Earth Dreams engine paired to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and a 22kW electric motor.

The standard gasoline version, meanwhile, mates the 1.5-liter engine to a continuously variable transmission. Honda has not announced if the hybrid version will be sold in Europe or the US. Honda said that specs, engine options and naming of the model are still to be confirmed for the European market.

According to Yoshiharu Itai, Vezel's chief engineer, Honda ideally wants to standardize the name since it is a global strategic vehicle. Honda officials, however, say the name might be modified to suit local markets. The Japan name is derived from the word “bezel,” the mounting for gemstones, comes with a twist by “b” for a “v,” which is often indistinguishable to the Japanese ear.

The Vezel is a crucial push by Honda President Takanobu Ito to increase global sales to 6 million vehicles in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2017, from 4.01 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2013. Ito expects the Jazz/Fit hatchback and its Vezel crossover and City sedan variants to account for 1.6 million units in global sales.

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